entertainment

The List: Everything you want to know about Adele.

Adele is one of those mononymous artists who actually lives up to the conceit of a single name.

She’s right up there with Madonna, Prince, and Cher. She is the biggest thing in pop music, seeing off peers such as Taylor Swift and Rihanna with ease.

Adele’s third studio album, 25, was released this month and already the lead single, Hello, has become the first song ever to sell more than one million digital copies in the first week of its release in the US.

In commercial music-land, dominated as it is by sex bombs or “art-pop” divas who wear bizarre costumes in an effort to stand out a la Gaga and Miley Cyrus, Adele should not be the dominant force in music that she is.

She often wears no make-up; her laugh is loud and raucous; and her Cockney manner of speaking has been described as “wartime-landlady”.

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Adele is synonymous with lovelorn ballads and winged eyeliner.

Just who is Adele Adkins, and how has she crammed in enough life and love and heartbreak to write three chart-topping albums, gain an MBE; and have a baby at the age of just 27? Let’s find out.

How did she become famous?

Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (is this where Jay and Bey got it? They’re definitely fans) graduated from the BRIT School of Performing Arts and Technology in 2006. Her classmates included Jessie J and Leona Lewis.

She thought she might go into A&R (artists and repertoire) after school, but, well, that didn’t quite happen. A demo Adele made for school was posted to MySpace by a friend that year, which led to a recording contract with XL Recordings.

By the following year she’d won a Brit Awards Crtics Choice award and in 2008 her debut 19 was released. It went seven times platinum in the UK and twice in America. She won two Grammys.

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James Corden introduced her at the Brit Awards in 2011 by saying, “If you’ve ever had a broken heart, you’re about to remember it.”

She sang Someone Like You from 21 wearing a simple black gown, her hair in an elegant chignon, in an incredible performance that ended in a standing ovation.

Watch Adele performing at The Brit Awards… Post continues after video.

Video via BBC

More than 5.5 million people watched the performance on YouTube, and after that came US success that some artists strive for decades to achieve. She was only 22.

Of that particular performance, Adele told The Guardian, she “Shat myself. I was on in between Take That and Rihanna, the biggest productions of the night. All day I was thinking, this is gonna be a disaster.”

With the release of 21, she became a bona fide megastar. It went 16 times platinum ion the UK. In the US it is certified Diamond. It sold 30 million copies.

What’s the deal with her family?

Adele was raised by her mum, Penny Adkins, who was just 18 when she was born.

Mother and daughter lived in Tottenham in London, then on the south coast of England, before returning to London in 1999. Even as 21 began to sell, she stayed living with her mum.

Adele has had an extremely fractious relationship with her Welsh dad, Mark Evans, who left when she was a toddler.

She once said she would “spit at him in the street” if she ever saw him again, after Evans, 53, spoke to the press about his troubled relationship with his daughter in 2011.

baby adele
A young Adele. Image via Instagram.
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“I was actually ready to start trying to have a relationship with him. He’s fucking blown it. He will never hear from me again,” Adele told Vogue magazine in 2012.

“There’s consequences other than just getting a bit of fucking money that lasts you half a year. It blows my mind. ‘I love her so much.’ Really? Why are you telling me that through a newspaper? If I ever see him I will spit in his face.”

After he discovered she was pregnant, Evans became even more desperate to reconcile with his daughter.

“My first reaction was a surge of happiness for her. But as we chatted about how Adele had told her in person, it dawned on me that my daughter hadn’t wanted to tell me herself. My happiness for her turned to gloom because I realised I really was out of the picture as far as she is concerned,” he told The Mirror.

Now, Evans is saying that he and his daughter have made up — but he’s wisely keeping it at that.

“Adele and I are fine, it was a misunderstanding. We’ve patched things up, everything’s fine, but I don’t want to make further comment,” he told The Sun.

What were all the songs on 21 and 19 about?

Adele’s debut 19 is full of all the flux any teenager feels after school but before ‘real life’ has truly begun. The song Hometown Glory was written in 10 minutes after her mother tried to convince her to leave London for university.

Chasing Pavements was inspired by an incident with a former boyfriend. She found out he’d been cheating on her, so she went to the pub where he worked and punched him in the face. After being thrown out, she thought, “What is it you’re chasing? You’re chasing an empty pavement.” She sang the lyrics into her mobile phone.

Adele. Image via Getty Images.
Adele at the Grammys.
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21 is famously inspired by a former lover. The man in question hasn’t been named, but he was reportedly at least 10 years her senior. When they began seeing each other, she cancelled the remainder of her 19 tour to be with him — a move she ended up regretting.

“He was my soul mate. We had everything—on every level we were totally right. We’d finish each other’s sentences, and he could just pick up how I was feeling by the look in my eye, down to a T, and we loved the same things, and hated the same things, and we were brave when the other was brave and weak when the other one was weak…and I think that’s rare when you find the full circle in one person, and I think that’s what I’ll always be looking for in other men,” she told Out.

What did she do in the years between 21 and 25?

Oh, you know, had a baby (Angelo, 3), bought a magnificent country manor house and baked.

Who is Simon Konecki?

Simon Konecki is Adele’s man, and the father of her son Angelo. He’s an old Etonion and the CEO of a charity called Drop4Drop

“Being in such an amazing relationship with someone that’s so there for me and so loyal and is really part of my core now. That’s what made me write about everything I’ve ever done, because I’ve got his love,” she told Liz Hayes on 60 Minutes.

“I know that sounds a bit like I’m trying to write a Hollywood movie, but it’s only because of him and because of our kid and stuff that I’m all right.”

How many awards has she won?

So many, notably 13 Billboard awards, 10 Grammys, four Brit awards, four American Music awards an Emmy and an Oscar (these last two for her James Bond song Skyfall).

adele awards
Just a tiny proportion of the awards she’s won.
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What does she have to say about her weight?

In a 2009 interview, Adele stated: “I like looking nice, but I always put comfort over fashion. I don’t find thin girls attractive; be happy and healthy. I’ve never had a problem with the way I look. I’d rather have lunch with my friends than go to a gym.”

Most recently, she told Rolling Stone that she’s trying to get into better shape to build stamina for touring.

Adele is trying to build stamina for her possible return to the road, so she’s cutting back on sugar, though not carbs altogether (“I’d never deprive myself like that!”), and hitting the gym, “to get in shape for myself, but not to be a size zero or anything like that.” Her regimen? “I mainly moan,” she says. Small cackle. “I’m not, like, skipping to the fucking gym. I don’t enjoy it. I do like doing weights. I don’t like looking in the mirror. Blood vessels burst on my face really easily, so I’m so conscious when I’m lifting weights not to let them burst in my face. And if I don’t tour, you’ll catch me back down at the Chinese!”

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Adele’s make-up free, wet-hair, in-a-bathrobe Rolling Stone cover.

Who are her influences?

Weirdly, Adele seems to have the music sensibilities of a pre-teen girl. She cites the Spice Girls as a major influence; she’s even said the girl group “made me who I am today”.

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Other more likely candidates include Dusty Springfield, Sinead O’Connor, Annie Lennox, Etta James and Mary J Blige.

She’s also as excited about Frank Ocean’s new album coming out as the rest of the world is about hers.

“I’m just fucking waiting for Frank fucking Ocean to come out with his album. It’s taking so fucking long.” She blinks, pauses, laughs again. “That sounds so stupid, coming from me, doesn’t it?” she told Rolling Stone. 

Adele and Stevie Nicks. Image via Twitter.
Adele cried “with, like, snot and everything” when she met Stevie Nicks.

How many tattoos does she have?

Six.

On one pinkie she has her son’s name Angelo, on another the word Paradise because, she told the New York Times, “He’s my paradise”.

She has a a tattoo of a penny with a love heart inside it, a dedication to her mum, on her wrist.

Beneath the penny are three dots; she got them with fellow musician Joy Williams from The Civil Wars.

Adele has the letter A in script behind her right ear.

Finally, she reportedly has three large doves tattooed on her back, according to Rolling Stone.

Watch Adele surprising a some unsuspecting Adele impersonators… Post continues after video.

Video via BBC
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What happened between her and Damon Albarn?

The two were meant to collaborate for her new album, but something didn’t quite gel between them and now it seems like there’s a bit of bad blood.

Albarn revealed that the two had been working together back in September, but that things weren’t panning out.

“Adele asked me to work with her and I took the time out for her… Will she use any of the stuff? I don’t think so.”

He said that her album would sound “middle of the road” and added: “The thing is, she’s very insecure. And she doesn’t need to be, she’s still so young”, reports The Guardian.

When asked about the sessions, Adele told Rolling Stone: “It ended up being one of those ‘don’t meet your idol’ moments. The saddest thing was that I was such a big Blur fan growing up. But it was sad, and I regret hanging out with him.”

She said they hadn’t completed a single song together. “None of it was right. None of it suited my record.”

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Adele has released 25 to crtiical acclaim.

What’s 25 about?

Leaving 21‘s heartbreak behind meant that new avenues opened for Adele’s songwriting.

“My last record was a break-up record, and if I had to label this one, I would call it a make-up record. Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did. 25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realising. And I’m sorry it took so long but, you know, life happened.”

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